Tag Archives: Paris

Will the Paris attacks bring back the ‘war on terror’? (The right hopes so!)

Hollande: Several dozen dead in attacks around Paris

Associated Press photo

ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack on a Paris Starbucks yesterday because the Starbucks’ cups were not sufficiently religious. (Kidding! That’s called political satire. The caption for this news photo is: “Victims lay on the pavement outside a Paris restaurant, Friday, November 13, 2015. Police officials in France on Friday report multiple terror incidents, leaving many dead. It was unclear at this stage if the events are linked.” [It is fairly clear now that they were linked.])

I hate ISIS. Always have, always will, and my general feeling toward the members of ISIS long has been pound them into the sand.

It’s not that the members of ISIS call themselves Muslim; it’s that they oppress and slaughter those who do not share their insane religious beliefs — you know, they do what the “Christo”fascists here at home would do if they could. It’s not the specific religion of the members of ISIS that bothers me; it’s their theofascism, their insane, self-righteous, yes, evil belief that their insane religious beliefs give them the right to treat others any way that they please, in the name of a non-existent “God.”

That said, it’s important not to reduce it to black and white, good vs. evil. It’s important to try to view the entire context.

France, along with Britain and the United States (and Spain and some other European nations), has a long history of colonization and of meddling in the affairs of other nations, including in the Middle East. It’s much more complicated than that the members of ISIS are just “evil” and want to strike out at us “good” (that is, “Christian”) Westerners, because that’s just what “evil” people do: strike out at “good” people. No, it isn’t just that “they hate our freedoms.”

Yes, I bring up the ghost of Gee Dubya because I’ll be frank: The United States of America has been rotting from within for many, many years now. This domestic rot started no later than during the Reagan era. “Democrat” Bill Clinton did little to nothing to reverse this rot and decline, and then we had eight long, ruinous years of another George Bush, and now we’re still in another eight years of the Clintonesque/do-nothing/Democratic-in-name-only Barack Obama era.

Thus far in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, the main focus, quite appropriately, has been on domestic issues.

Then ISIS goes and attacks Paris, killing at least 127 people. (ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks of yesterday, anyway.)

The French seem prepared to strike back, which is quite human and is understandable, but which quite possibly will start a back-and-forth blood bath that will drag on.

Which will mean that very quickly, the focus in the United States of America no longer will be trying to reverse our domestic rot, but once again will turn toward “terrorism,” because we Americans, first and foremost, don’t want to be bombed or riddled with bullets when we’re out and about shopping for overpriced shit that we don’t need in our mega-malls, drinking our caffeinated hot beverages from our not-Christmas-enough Starbucks cups, or watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster or Oscar bait at a cineplex.

Our chance of being slaughtered by a fellow “Christian” citizen is much higher than is our chance of ever being cut down by an “Islamofascist” “terrorist” (or by an “illegal”), but no matter; we Americans never have been good at calculating actual risks vs. vastly over-inflated risks. (After all, They hate our freedoms!)

I am sorry that dozens of human beings were slaughtered in Paris yesterday. I don’t believe in killing innocents* in order to try to score political points, whether those innocents are killed by “Islamofascist” “terrorists” or by the U.S. military (funny how when the United States government kills innocent people in order to make political gains, which it does routinely, that’s never called “terrorism” [nor is the mass-murderous Israel even capable of “terrorism,” because, like the United States, Israel is “good”]).

While I understand the stance of ISIS and other Islamic fundamentalists that France and other Western nations are evil because they long have participated in the colonization of and military attacks upon predominantly Muslim nations in the Middle East, the “Islamofascists” apparently also dislike the Western nations more or less equally because the Western nations aren’t backasswards like the Islamic fundamentalists are, such as with their misogyny, their homophobia, their sexual repression and their religious intolerance (including severe but awfully selective scriptural enforcement) to the point of routine violence against “apostates.”

I mean, in its online statement claiming responsibility for the attacks on Paris yesterday, ISIS referred to Paris as a/the “capital of adultery and vice.”

ISIS further declared, “The stench of death will not leave their noses as long as they remain at the forefront of the Crusaders’ campaign, dare to curse our prophet, boast of a war on Islam in France, and strike Muslims in the lands of the caliphate with warplanes that were of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris.”

ISIS also proclaimed that France “will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State.”

My impression is that France is at “the top of the list” for several reasons: One, it has more Muslim inhabitants (percentage-wise) than does any other Western nation; two, apparently there long has been widespread mistreatment of and discrimination against Muslims in “innocent” France; and, of course, France is much geographically closer to the Middle East than are other Western nations (especially the United States, of course), making France, logistically, an easier target for terrorist attacks.

My hope is that things calm down in France quickly, that tit-for-tat bloodshed doesn’t occur, and that the United States of America continues to focus on its domestic crises instead of returning to the days of the unelected, fascistic George W. Bush regime when the “war on terror” eclipsed everything, while the filthy rich continued to get even richer from stealing even more from us, the distracted-by-the-“war-on-terror” masses, and while things here at home continued to deteriorate while we focused on the “terrorists” abroad (yes, the billions and billions of our dollars that went to the war machine — mostly, to the treasonous war profiteers [a.k.a. “contractors”], such as the folks at Dick Cheney’s Halliburton — were billions and billions of our dollars that never went to our public schools, to our streets and other public infrastructure, to our health-care needs, to food, to shelter, to environmental protection, to job creation, etc.).

The Repugnican Tea Party would love for the national discussion to pivot from its current, rare focus on domestic issues and to return instead to the “war on terror.” Because that’s where the Repugnican Tea Party traitors are most comfortable, are most in their fear-based element: spooking the masses by some “enemy” “threat,” be it the often-brown-skinned “illegals” from south of the border or be it the often-brown-skinned “Islamofascist” “terrorists” from abroad come to kill us because “they hate our freedoms.”

This use of trumped-up/Trumped-up fear allows the home-grown, right-wing traitors (and yes, terrorists) right here among us at home to, even literally, get away with murder, to run rampant with their treasonous, right-wing crimes in a nation whose masses are distracted from wildly overblown concerns of harm from without, when the real harm, as almost always, actually is from within.

We truly patriotic Americans allow our nation to return to the right-wing mindset of a “war on terror” at our own peril.

We can stop it.

We simply do what we did not do last time: We stand up and we say: Oh, hell no!

*Yes, I get it that there are gradations of innocence.

One could argue, as the “Islamofascists” do argue, that merely to be a citizen of a Western nation that militarily attacks in the Middle East is to be guilty by complacency (if not merely by association), that is, the citizens of the Western nations, this line of thought goes, allow their nation’s military forces to strike the Middle East, and therefore, they aren’t innocent, but do have blood on their hands.

However, when it comes to revenge, I don’t believe in group revenge. If an individual grievously harms another individual, I can see revenge being taken upon the individual who actually perpetrated the harm him- or herself. But to hold an entire group of people accountable for harm done to other people whom they’ve never even encountered — harm that was perpetrated by other people whom they’ve never even encountered — is bullshit. It’s not justice. At best, it’s very, very sloppy revenge.

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I am NOT Charlie Hebdo

This 2010 cover of the French publication Charlie Hebdo depicts a Muslim woman with a burqa stuffed up her ass. I, for one, wouldn’t publish such unnecessarily offensive material. Because you can doesn’t mean you should. There is an awful lot that we are free to do that we probably should not do.

First, the obligatory (but sincere) opening paragraph in which I proclaim that I support free speech on every square centimeter of the globe and that of course I do not condone the slaughter of human beings over the publication of things that some (or many or even most) have found to be offensive.

I’m sure that I’ve offended many people over the years, and I sure would prefer not to be shot to death because I’ve offended some fucktard’s precious sensibilities.

But missing in the discussion that I’ve heard and read regarding yesterday’s massacre of 12 people in Paris at or near the offices of the weekly French publication Charlie Hebdo is that the publication apparently has a frat-boy mentality (I dunno: is that a French thing?), the mentality in which other groups of human beings who differ from our own group exist only as fodder for our belittling attacks against them.

I don’t see that Charlie Hebdo’s many covers apparently meant to offend and provoke Muslims in France do anything to uplift the public debate. These covers seem to be meant to provoke and offend above all else, to shock, to scandalize, and to enrage Muslims, or, at the very least, to not give a shit if Muslims become enraged (because hey, they’re Muslims!).

“Charlie Hebdo insults all religions,” the ubiquitous Charlie-Hebdo-defending mantra goes.

Really?

Here in the United States, the equivalent cartoons, if they were about Jews, would be considered to be virulently anti-Semitic.

Why, in the West, is anti-Semitism widely condemned (and so much that isn’t actually anti-Semitic nonetheless is deemed to be “anti-Semitic”), but virulent Islamophobia so often in so many places is perfectly A-OK? (That was a rhetorical question, mostly, but I’ll answer it anyway: because in the West, Christianity and Judaism get preferential treatment. They always have.)

I don’t believe in God, so I have no dog in this race. Muslims, Jews, Christians, all (the fundamentalists among them, anyway) believe in things that I think are utter bullshit, such as ridiculous dietary restrictions (well, at least the Jews and the Muslims), creationism and other anti-scientific and anti-intellectual stances and hocus-pocus bullshit (“miracles,” virgin births, resurrections, being God’s specially chosen stenographer, etc.), patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and talking to a non-existent deity (a.k.a. “praying”).

Those who believe in God (as adults who should know better) more often that not are only going along to get along with the tribe that they were born into and/or want pat answers to all of the universe’s questions (and their religion gives them the veneer of having all of those answers) and/or they find the world to be a terrifying place to be and they find God to be the ultimate security blanket.

I disagree with them, and when theofascists piss and shit on my human rights, civil rights and equal rights (such as they did with Proposition H8) I will speak out, but, in general, I don’t see what good would come of my going out of my way to offend and provoke those who hold religious beliefs that I find to be ridiculous. For the most part, as long as the theists leave me (and my rights) alone, I can leave them alone.

Charlie Hebdo’s raison d’être, on the other hand, seems not to be to enlighten and to unify, but to offend and to provoke, especially Muslims, yet when the dog that it’s been stabbing with sharpened sticks for years now finally — and fairly fucking predictably — bites back in a big way, the rest of the world is supposed to feel sorry for Charlie Hebdo? Really?

I’m sorry that people were massacred over Charlie Hebdo’s low-brow, frat-boy content that, in my estimation, certainly wasn’t worth dying for. But it was preventable. The free speech that these people died for wasn’t very valuable speech, was it? A woman with a burqa stuffed up her ass? Mohammed thusly depicted:

Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoon

?

I won’t say “Je sui Charlie” (French for “I am Charlie”) because if I owned a weekly publication, I wouldn’t print shit like this, shit that causes more harm than good.

As an atheist on the outside looking in, I can proclaim that in the West, Muslims get the shitty end of the stick almost every time. The same individuals who preach about how we should respect their precious religious beliefs have no problem disrespecting Islam, and the Charlie Hebdo cartoons that I’ve seen of the pope and of Jews aren’t, in my estimation, likely to be nearly as offensive to Catholics and Jews as are the publication’s cartoons depicting Mohammed or Muslims to Muslims. (And, from what I can tell, the publication’s cartoons lampooning Islam are more numerous than its cartoons lampooning Christianity or Judaism.)

Charlie Hebdo repeatedly has poked the critter of Islam with a sharpened stick. In 2011, the publication’s (yeah, I just have a hard time calling it a “newspaper”) headquarters were firebombed, for fuck’s sake (the day after it published an issue calling itself “Charia Hebdo” and portraying Mohammed as a clown with a red nose).

What happened in Paris yesterday was predictable and preventable. And what was it for? For “free speech,” so many people proclaim, but no, ultimately it was for the freedom to continue to shit and piss on Muslims, including the freedom to offend them deeply in ways that are universally known to deeply offend them.

That is not a freedom that I believe is worth dying for. Defending against the spread of theofascism, whether the theofascists be abroad (such as the wonderful folks of “ISIS” [or whatever we’re calling them this week]) or at home (such as those who bomb abortion clinics and those who violate the U.S. Constitution and human, civil and equal rights when they do their damnedest to stop same-sex marriage), is worth dying for, but making unprovoked attacks upon others for their religious beliefs, no matter how ridiculous they might be? That’s not a defensive posture, that’s an offensive posture.

And yes, intentionally offending Muslims in the West is worse than is intentionally offending Christians or Jews in the West, because — duh — in the West Christians and Jews have greater numbers and greater power than do Muslims. Picking on the majority is not — not — the same as picking on an already-highly-picked-upon minority group. It takes a special kind of asshole to kick someone who’s already down.

I am not Charlie Hebdo, no matter how fashionable being Charlie Hebdo might be in the West right now.

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